Warneck, Johannes (1867-1944)

German missionary in Indonesia

The son of Gustav Warneck, Warneck was born in Dommitzsch, Saxony, and studied theology at Halle, where Martin Kähler influenced him to become a missionary. In 1892 he was ordained and sent by the Rhenish Mission (RM) to work among the Batak people in Sumatra. He served first as a pioneer missionary and then as a teacher at the seminary in Sipoholon, where he developed a program for training an indigenous ministry. In 1908 he joined the board’s home staff at Barmen, Wuppertal, where he supervised its Indonesian mission and, from 1912, taught missions at the theological school in nearby Bethel. During this time Warneck produced scholarly works on the language, literature, and belief system of the Bataks, wrote a history of the Indonesian mission, and served as co-editor of the Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift. In 1920 he returned to Sumatra to be overseer of the burgeoning Batak church and designed the constitution that made it autonomous in 1930. From 1932 to 1937 he served as the director of the RM, and thereafter he lived in retirement. Through his many literary works Warneck fostered a deeper understanding of missions among the general public in Europe and America.

Richard V. Pierard, “Warneck, Johannes,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 351.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.


Digital Primary

Warneck, Johannes Gustav. Die Lebenskräfte des Evangeliums. Berlin: Berlag von Martin Warned, 1908.

_____. Tobabataksch-Deutsches Worterbuch. Batavia: Landsdrukkerij, 1906.


Warneck, Johannes Gustav. Djamita kuria. Ponggol 1. Singapore: Printed at the American Mission Press, 1901.

_____. The Living Christ and Dying Heathenism: The Experiences of a Missionary in Animistic Heathendom. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1954.

_____. Toba-Bataks-Nederlands woordenboek. 1947.


_____. Werfet eure netze aus, erinnerungen. Berlin: M. Warneck, 1938.


Pedersen, Paul. Batak Blood and Protestant Soul; The Development of National Batak Churches in North Sumatra. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970.